Artificial ski slopes

Artificial ski slopes

Artificial ski slopes or dry ski slopes are ski slopes that mimic the attributes of snow using materials that are stable at room temperature, to enable people to ski on them. The term "dry ski slopes" is also used but can be misleading as many slopes are lubricated using a mist or jet system to increase speed and prevent damage to equipment from friction heat build-up. As a general rule, they are found predominantly in the U.K. as continental European countries tend to have ready access to real snow fields, as does North America.


Early materials

A variety of materials can be found on dry ski slopes.

Early efforts to mimic snow involved laying extruded plastic tiles with upward spikes in an attempt to provide grip. These were unpopular as they provided little grip and turning capability and the experience was similar to skiing across ice.

Brush materials

The next stage in dry ski slope development came with the brush industry. The most common material is dendix, a by-product of brush manufacturing which is similar to a short haired brush with the bristles sticking upwards. Dendix is manufactured in Chepstow, however it can be found on slopes throughout the world. [ [ Dendix installing ski slope in Moscow] ] It is arranged in a hexagonal pattern of approximately 1 inch (25 mm) strips of bristles in a 4 inch (100 mm) hexagon. Although it was a significant advancement from previous surfaces, concern over damage to slope users (it provides little or no impact protection to a slope user when falling) and ski or snowboard damage due to friction meant litigation for slopes using it was a constant threat. Nowadays water is often sprayed onto the surface of the dendix to lubricate it and increase speed however higher insurance premiums cause many slope operators to look for safer alternatives. [ [ Study on upper limb in injuries in dry ski slope skiing] ]

Recent materials

The most recent development has seen a crop of materials providing both impact protection and slope lubrication as well as the ability to perform turns, erect jumps, rails and quarterpipes and provide a ride that is closer to the feel of real snow. The most common of these is Snowflex, manufactured near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in England by Briton Engineering Developments Limited. Others include Perma-snow by John Nike Leisure/ Techmat 2000, also in the UK and Astroride by NorCal Extreme Sports in the United States. Snowflex and Perma-snow are both white in colour, although the former has been produced in a darker green - see Kendal Ski Club in Cumbria, England - to comply with planning requirements. [ [ Minutes of South Lakeland council meeting] ] It should be noted that Perma-snow is not lubricated as it was designed to reduce friction through use of a looped pile, although the effectiveness of this is disputed. [ [ Discussion on synthetic surfaces] ] There is no indication from NorCal Extreme Sports that AstroRide has not yet been commercially tested to any great extent. [ [ NorCal Extreme Sports news page] ]

In Italy in Parco del Sangro Mr.Calgione build a Snowpark 365 days open with Snowsun material in blue color with two slopes one for snowboard and all alpine discipline; and another one for sledge with snow tubing. [ Snowpark Sangro]

Outdoor Artificial Ski Slopes Locations

United Kingdom

*Aberdeen Snowsports Centre, Aberdeen
*Aldershot Ski & Snowboard Centre
*Avon Ski Centre, Churchill, North Somerset
*Bearsden, Glasgow
*Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
*Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre at Matson, Gloucestershire
*Hillend Ski Slope, Edinburgh (the longest Artificial Ski Slope In Europe)
*Happy Valley, Llandudno, 280m long.
*John Nike Ski & Snowboard Centre, Bracknell, Llandudno, Chatham, Plymouth, Swadlincote and Bristol
*Norfolk Ski Club, Trowse, near Norwich
*Pontypool Leisure Centre, South Wales
*Sheffield Ski Village
*Silksworth Sports Complex, Sunderland
*Ski Rossendale, Rossendale
*Telford Snowboard & Ski Centre, Telford
*Ipswich Dryslope
*Wycombe Summit, in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire was the largest dry ski slope in the country until it burnt down in 2005. [ cite web|url= |title=Fire at Wycombe Ski Slope|accessdate=2008-05-26] Now it is being rebuilt as the largest real snow slope in the country in addition to a new dry ski slope and ice rink.


*Malta Ski, Poznań, Poland
*Pendle Ski Club, Sabden ( [] )
*Snowpark Sangro, ( [] )
*Norge Ski Club, Fox River Grove, Illinois
*President Medici Ski Station, Garibaldi, Brazil ( [,9171,906181,00.html] )


ee also

*Indoor ski slopes
*Ski simulators

External links

* [ Dry Ski Slopes UK] Directory
* [] Artificial Ski Slopes
* [] snow365 every day a snow day

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